This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.

Friday, 5 December 2014

Word To Use Today: dap.

Here's a bright, bouncing little word.

Dap has meanings to do with angling, birds, and athletics, and it's the bouncing that's important.

In angling, to dap is to use a fly (it can be a real or an artificial one) tied to a very light silk line, so that the wind makes the fly bob on and off the surface of the water.

When a bird daps, it's dipping lightly into water. In England you might see a dapping wagtail, or, even more pleasingly, in rocky places you might even see a dapping dipper.

File:Young dipper on River Breamish - - 220396.jpg
Photo: Tim Walter

Children love to dap, too. This might involve dapping like a dipper, but it might mean bouncing, either a bouncing a ball or the whole body. It's easier when you're small, when gravity hasn't got such a hold on you, but a quick bounce at any age adds to the gaiety of the world.

(By the way, the ideal footwear for dapping are daps, which in Southwest England are plimsolls, a sort of light canvas trainer-type shoe.)

If you're really too heavy for dapping, then how about a dap greeting, which is a fist bump?

If the thing bouncing is a hammer and it's beating a sheet of metal into the shape of the mould underneath it then that's dapping, too.

A dap is also an Iranian drum:

As an acronym, DAP can be a Draw-a-Person test, which measures the abilities and emotional states of young children; a fertiliser; a flame-retardant; and a Dog Appeasing Pheromone, as well as loads of things to do with computers.

But for me, you know what? I'm going to stick with the bouncing.

Word To Use Today: dap. This word turned up in English in the 1600s, probably as an imitation of the sound of something small dropping into water.

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